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Wearing orange safety vests and white hard hats with the word “Archer Napa” printed on them, a small group of construction managers and a hotel general manager gathered at the top of the city’s newest luxury hotel last week and gazed over the city center from 65 feet up.

Below them, 125 to 145 workers, spread throughout and around six stories, sawed, hammered, nailed and moved building materials to construct the 184,000 square-foot property.

“It’s going great,” said Michael Collins, the general manager of the hotel. “It’s the rebirth of downtown Napa right before your eyes.”

“There are literally thousands of moving pieces and parts,” and many details to organize, said Jeff Thomas, director of construction for LodgeWorks, the company developing the downtown hotel.

Thomas lives near Wichita, Kansas and visits the project weekly to review progress. “It all continues to move in the right direction,” he said.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Jeff Roberts, director of engineering at the hotel.

Roberts lives in Napa and will be in charge of all building systems once it opens.

“I’m fortunate to see it being built,” because it allows him to know the building inside and out, he said.

Construction on the Archer hotel is estimated 60 percent completed, with 70 percent of the exterior work done, said construction officials. In 2014, developers estimated the cost of the project at $70 million.

The update came during a hard-hat tour of the 183-room hotel, which is being built at the site of a former Merrill’s drug store and surrounding space on First Street.

“It’s been an adventure,” said Brian Hansen, project superintendent for the general contractor, Deacon Corp.

According to Hansen, work is underway on exterior finishes, windows, glazing and interior framing and drywall. Interior finishes are next to come along with utilities such as gas, water, power and sewer.

Hansen gave kudos to LodgeWorks for selecting high-quality finishes, some custom-made. Locally sourced stone has been made into stone veneers. Tile and marble have been imported from Italy. Reclaimed wood and wine barrel staves will be used as decorative panels in guest rooms and other areas.

Most of the former Merrill’s exterior tile façade remains under protective wrapping, but several vertical columns have been unwrapped and are undamaged, said Hansen.

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Guests will enter primarily through the former Merrill’s entrance, walking toward a lobby and Charlie Palmer steak house restaurant.

Last Wednesday, the interior and exterior walls remained unfinished but a large skylight in the middle of a rotunda area allowed in plenty of natural light.

The second floor will feature four meeting rooms in a variety of size configurations. The largest space has natural light, a rarity for most meeting rooms, said Collins.

The rooftop includes the fitness center, spa, chef demonstration kitchen area and an 8-inch deep lounge pool. The idea is to sit and relax in the water, not swim, explained Collins. Private cabanas with fireplaces will also welcome visitors.

Many guest rooms will overlook First Street. To help camouflage less interesting views from rooms that look out over the top of the former Napa Town Center, a partial window frosting treatment will be applied.

The larger rooms include glass walled balconies and expansive living spaces. Rooms will feature one of six design palettes of “soothing cream, gray and gold mixed with native trims,” stated the Archer website.

Along Coombs Street, which will be open to traffic one-way northbound, a new streetscape is being created featuring trees, benches and light poles. Such improvements will make the area “a little more inviting,” said Hansen.

Archer Napa is scheduled to open in late spring 2017, along with a number of shops in the newly remodeled First Street Napa retail center.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.